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St. Helena Parish School District Takes Extra Precautions to REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS
St. Helena Parish School District Takes Extra Precautions to REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS
Kelli Joseph
Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The St. Helena Parish School District considers the health and well-being of our students and staff to be of the upmost importance. As such, we have established policies and protocols to mitigate COVID-19 exposure while our employees and students are on campus. A potential massive outbreak was averted due to the deliberate actions of our school leaders and medical experts.

 COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Through our partnership with Southeast Community Health System (SCHS), that spans over 20 years, our students have access to a full-service school-based health clinic. To access these services, parents must fill out a Consent Form each year. We want to thank our parents for submitting the forms. Now, a substantial number of our children have access to onsite medical care that includes free COVID-19 rapid testing. In addition, parents have been doing a wonderful job communicating any potential exposure their children may have had while at home.

 We are extremely fortunate to have SCHS as a partner in our community. As stated by Dr. Alecia Cyprian, SCHS Chief Executive Officer, “We are working with the school district to aid in mitigating the spread [of the virus]”. The SCHS staff has worked tirelessly over the past three days administering COVID-19 tests to our students and employees, putting themselves at daily risk to exposure.

 The St. Helena Office of Emergency Preparedness has provided personal protective equipment, state-of-the-art temperature reading devices, scheduled community COVID-19 testing, and coordinated various efforts with the school district throughout the pandemic.

 EDUCATION EQUITY       

The initiatives we have in place are aimed to prevent the shutdown of our schools because we understand that face-to-face instruction is the best method of learning for our students. Even with our efforts to expand technology and internet access across our parish, some families, due to their location, are still without service. This limitation only exacerbates the achievement gap for our students because they are unable to participate in our eLearning classes. Face-to-face instruction is the only equitable solution.   

 RESULTS

      The chart below lists the number of students tested, positive cases, and quarantined students from each school in St. Helena Parish over the three-day testing period. 

DISTRICT ACTION

  • Proper protocols were followed for all positive cases. Students were immediately relocated on campus until their parents arrived. Parents of students required to quarantine due to exposure were also notified and removed from campus.
  • Due to the high percent positive rate (22%), Students who attend St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy (SHATA) will revert to eLearning beginning Monday, December 7, 2020. More information will be available from school administrators regarding class schedules, attendance requirements, special circumstances, and other related matters before the end of the week. Students will return to face-to-face instruction on January 5, 2021.
  • After receiving information about the high cases at SHATA, the maintenance department conducted an early morning emergency deep cleaning today.
  • While we know eLearning is not the equitable solution, we must consider the health and safety of our students and employees. With that said, we ask that all SHATA parents locate the nearest internet access point in their neighborhood so their student can participate in eLearning classes. We also ask that parents download our district app to stay abreast of current information and sign up for the Parent Command Center to keep track of your child’s progress.
  • St. Helena Early Learning Center and St. Helena College and Career Academy will remain open.

              Thank you for your continued support and patience as we continue to do our best to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees in St. Helena Parish.